There's more to newspapers than news

You'll need more than news to build a great audience revenue model.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

In the 1980s, family life in the Tinworth household was often quite chill on a Sunday. We “took” the Sunday Times, and part of the ritual was dividing up the sections amongst the family. I liked the features sections, my Mum the women's sections and the magazine. My brother was straight in on the Funday Times and he battled with my Dad over the sport.

A newspaper, despite the name, is a lot more than news. And, if you want to build a sustainable, member revenue-driven business you need to understand that. Case in point, the New York Times subscriber growth is down, but the source is shifting:

New subscriber growth was weighted much more heavily this quarter towards non-news products than in any other previous quarter in the company’s history. A record 44% of The Times’ new digital subscribers came from non-core news products, like cooking, games and audio, last quarter.

I remember some snark from one of the many (too many) media newsletters I subscribe to about the NYT putting so much emphasis on games — including hiring an editorial director for them. It expressed a worry about newspaper losing their focus on, well, news. That missed the point: newspapers (and media generally) have always been about more than just news. As audience revenue matures as a business model, you'd do well to think about what connects with your members emotionally as well as intellectually.

Also in NYT news

This post is for subscribers only


Already have an account? Log in